Sarah Fernquest — UX Designer based in Seattle, WA


Web Application

Still a work in progress, TalentDesk is the culmination of two years of ongoing experimentation in creating a viable product in the recruiting industry. In its current incarnation, the site is a job board with over 1 million jobs and over 6,000 visitors per month.

Date2016-2018 ForSR Education Group
RoleUX Design, Visual & UI Design, HTML/SCSS, User Research, Data Analysis

Project Context

Seeing an opportunity to apply our company’s SEO and content-building expertise to a new industry, the team at SR Education Group embarked on a journey into the world of recruiting. At first, we experimented with the traditional job site model, which included job listings from across myriad industries. However, after realizing we lacked sufficient differentiation, we pivoted our business strategy to focus on the underserved niche of healthcare recruiting with a proposed site called HealthTalent.

Gathering Data

I led our team in interviews with local healthcare recruiters, in order to validate our ideas and gain more insight into the pain points of the industry. We came away with some key findings about the healthcare recruiting process:

•   The current market favors jobseekers; companies have to use skillful messaging about their values and competitive compensation to attract candidates.

•   Medical professionals are hesitant to participate in an arduous application process; they are in high enough demand that they can just look elsewhere.

•   The space is lacking an effective, healthcare-specific applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS that integrates healthcare specific features, including skill assessment exercises, would be of high value to recruiters.

Designing HealthTalent

Unique Selling Proposition: To provide the most detailed and comprehensive salary information for healthcare specialties, and give employers and aspiring professionals a platform to advertise their employment offerings and unique expertise.

Our planned MVP was a job site that enabled both jobseekers and employers to create customized, detailed profile pages using a simple modular content management system. We believed this product would be of particular interest to small healthcare providers who would value a forum to publicize their company values and benefits while gaining access to a library of detailed candidate profiles. We planned to generate in-depth salary breakdowns and similar visualizations across a wide array of healthcare specialties.

A proposed user flow for HealthTalent includes jobseeker and employer authentication, detailed salary content pages, and a candidate directory.

High fidelity mocks of proposed salary content pages. The goal was to make data-heavy content accessible and compelling.

High fidelity mocks of a proposed employer profile page. Subscribing employers would be able to build their own customized company profiles to attract the most qualified candidates.

Subscribing employers and recruiters would be able to search and browse the jobseeker directory (left) and view detailed candidate profiles (right) including optional video content.

Pivot to TalentDesk

While building HealthTalent, SR Education Group’s management decided to acquire a small job board and applicant tracking system with roughly 100 subscribing customers. Management thought that gaining a foothold in the recruiting space and access to real customers to learn from would give us helpful insights for upcoming ventures such as HealthTalent.

The new acquisition, called TalentDesk, had a lot of technical debt and was not technologically scalable, so plans for HealthTalent were put on hold while we redirected our energies into rebuilding TalentDesk from the ground up. Early plans for a rebuild prioritized a revamp of the recruiter-facing applicant tracking system.

My early user flow iterations for TalentDesk included an updated applicant tracking system for subscribing employers and recruiters.

Below are the earliest wireframes for the new recruiter portal, or applicant tracking system. I saw an opportunity to build upon the legacy features, using basic UX heuristics to make the the user flow more intuitive.

Wireframes showing recruiter-facing applicant tracking system, where subscribing recruiters or employers can post jobs, review incoming applicants, and manage subscription settings.

Without a dedicated sales and customer support team, it quickly proved unsustainable to provide our existing 100 or so subscribers the support they needed. The decision was soon made to drop the remaining recruiter and employer accounts and refocus the team’s resources on rebuilding the product, with an emphasis on providing a strong jobseeker experience.

Our MVP offered a filterable job search, indexable browsing pages, and high-quality career-related content. I was responsible for all visual and interaction design, and maximized our developer resources by writing almost all of the HTML and CSS on the site.

The updated site uses Material Web Components and loosely follows Material Design guidelines, with affordances including minimal drop shadow and hover effects on buttons, badges to indicate applied filters, icon buttons to clear search field content, and a sticky “back-to-top” button for long content pages.

High fidelity mocks of the job results page (left) show basic filtering functionality. On the right is an example of industry-specific content.

I designed an intuitive mobile filtering flow that uses widely-recognized usability patterns and design heuristics.

TalentDesk is still a work in progress, but is quickly gaining traction with over 6,000 monthly users and links from several prominent blogs and employer websites.

I hope to lead user testing and subsequent optimizations on site features, in particular the filtering functionality, in the near future. Meanwhile, plans to add authentication, saved jobs and searches, and more career-related content promise new interaction challenges on the horizon.